Indian drummers and singers gathered on the Capitol’s south lawn on the first day of the 2013 legislative session to draw attention to the growing Idle No More movement.
The Great Falls Tribune’s Rich Peterson on Monday reported on Idle No More protests in northeastern Montana:
By holding flash mob round dances, like the ones held in Poplar and Wolf Point on Thursday and Friday, Native Americans from Canada and the United States hope to bring attention and awareness to Indian issues through the Idle No More movement. More specifically, it aims to bring attention to Canadian Bill C-45, which some Canadian activists say weakens environmental laws on Canadian Indian reserves.
Craig Pablo, of Ronan, drove to the Capitol Monday to take part in the peaceful protest as lawmakers were preparing to be sworn-in.
“This awakening is growing steadily,” Pablo said. “This isn’t just a Canadian issue or an Indian issue. This goes beyond race or color. We all breathe the air and we all drink the water.”
April Charlo, a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes on the Flathead Indian Reservation, said the Idle No More protests are about bringing Indian tribes together in solidarity for causes important to all Indians and all Montanans.
“This is about coming together as Indian people and and putting out differences aside and standing together,” Charlo said. “This is about showing (lawmaker) that we are here too, so don’t try to impose laws on us that are going to threaten our land or culture.”
The Idle No More movement gained international attention after Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper refused to meet with Canadian tribal governments about a bill that many Indians believed undermined keystone environmental laws.
According to Peterson’s article:
Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario began a hunger strike in the country’s capital city, Ottawa, on Dec. 11, until Harper agrees to a meeting with tribal leaders. On Friday, 24 days after her hunger strike began, the prime minister announced he would meet with her and other leaders. Spence said she would continue with the hunger strike until the meeting actually happens.
The movement has spread across the border into the U.S., and Idle No More Demonstrations have been popping across the country in an effort to elevate Indian issues.
Here’s a Raw Video clip of Indian drummers and singers performing outside the Capitol.